Happy Birthday, Dee Dee!!!

It’s hard to believe that little Dee Dee is 4 years old. Time goes so quickly.It seems like only yesterday we brought her onboard at just 7 weeks old. She learned immediately what it takes to be a good crew member. Her dad was very proud. She’s put a l…

Rekindling the Dream

Rekindling the Dream

Skies over  Ovea, The Loyaute Islands, New Caledonia

Pahia, New Zealand
April 21, 2017

A few months ago, on the 4th of July, I thought that the earth had caved in, that the “Sky had fallen on my head,” and I posted “When Cruising Ends,” as JP and I were sure that we had seen enough water, enough islands, enough palm trees and sand beaches and enough of each other. 

DOMINO awaiting her fate at Port Denarau, Fiji

We hauled the boat out at Norsand in New Zealand, and took a break from cruising.  JP worked on the boat for a month, then went to visit family in France.  For my part, I rushed to the US and spent 10 weeks enjoying the family in 3 States, cradling newborn Isabelle and chasing after toddlers, playing “Nini” and loving it.  Still, people kept telling me, “You’re living The Dream!” and “So lucky!”  Yes indeed, we had spent 7 years Living the Dream.  But I kept wondering, how did the DREAM die? How do we get it back?

Pacific Dolphins commonly play around us at anchor, here in Nagles Cove, Great Barrier Island, NZ

The 7-Year Itch  —  We had been cruising seven years and we were getting weary… of what? Not sure, but it all was becoming “Blah!”  A malaise was descending over us and we could not define it.  So, we looked at our lifestyle and tried to find answers.

What I love most in cruising? Diving, snorkeling, looking for species new to me
(No worries, this triton went right back where it came from – Belep Islands, New Caledonia

No Breaks– In all these years, we had taken only short breaks to visit family, always whirlwind visits, too short, too shallow, to unfrequent.  While I spent these breaks with our California family (neglecting our Arizona and S.Carolina children) JP had to split his time between his French roots and his U.S. offsprings.  We were both itching for quality time with our 13 grandchildren and could not see how this would happen while cruising full time.
      • CURE?  Take frequent and/or long breaks from cruising to get back in touch with family and friends.

Had we gotten tired of talcum-powder beaches?  Here, in Ouvea, Loyalty Islands, New Caledonia
  • Cultural Aftershock – What would I give for a night at the Opera, or the Theater, or even just a movie in a comfortable seat!  Not that we are short of Cultural experiences.  From Latin America to French Polynesia to Indo-Fijian, Kanak and Maori cultures, our lives have been enriched in many ways.  Still, I felt “out of my gourd,” disconnected from my roots, be they French of American.  
      • CURE?  Take frequent and/or long breaks from cruising to get back in touch with our cultural roots.
Cruising with friends helped.  Here, in Lifou (Loyalty Islands, New Caledonia) with the CNC

  • Too Much Ocean – Did I just write this?  Could there be such a thing as Too Much Ocean?  Truth be told, we had become lazy, trying to be satisfied with our daily snorkeling sessions, fishing excursions, and walks on the beach.  We had hardly taken any hike, visited any village, walked through any town, or even sampled any restaurant.  We thought we were content to stay on the boat.  Obviously not and suddenly there was Too Much Ocean.
      • CURE? Get off the boat, one way or the other, and experience LAND.

It always comes down to just the two of us.  Would we be reduced to just one?
No worries, I fixed this silverbeet and potato salad for JP, home-baked bread, in the Bay of Islands yesterday!

The 44-Year Wall  —  As if this 7-Year Cruising Itch weren’t enough, JP and I were hitting the 44-year wall!  Oh yes, there is such a thing!  I’m convinced that, in relationships, there is the 22-year wall, the 44-year wall and (we’ll see) the 66-year wall.   I felt I couldn’t do anything well enough or fast enough for the “Kapitan” and JP was convinced that I could no longer tolerate his presence. Ouch… our relationship was headed for Davey’s Locker!   
JP had the solution, to sell the boat and go our separate ways, each one doing what we darned well pleased.  
– CURE?  Take a break from each other… easier said than done.

Hope… in Ile des Pins, New Caledonia.

CURES, SOLUTIONS, and SOUL-SEARCHING – So, we did the most drastic thing of all; towards the end of July, we put DOMINO for sale.  Soon, we realized that our powerful DOMINO is not a boat for everybody.  She is a powerful and fast Passagemaker—in the purest definition of the term— an ocean-crossing motor yacht for a couple and occasional guests.  It was clear that we were not going to get many offers.  Meanwhile, what did we do?  Go cruising, of course!  

HOME is where the boat is.
Here in the “Back of the Barrier,” Barrier Island, NZ

This logical step brought us to New Caledonia, where JP and I made a big effort to put into practice some of the “cures” we had identified, starting with getting off the boat and going to the movies.  In Noumea, we caught up with “The Calypso” and Cousteau’s life story, cruised with a flotilla of friends and made sure to go on a hike in Hiengiene.  We even went on “date” walks and restaurant lunches.  

Hiengiene, New Caledonia

This was an improvement and we started to enjoy cruising again.  To make things even better, our passage from New Caledonia to New Zealand in 3 days flat (average 11.5 Kts) made us appreciate what an ocean-crossing beast DOMINO really is, really good at dodging weather and storms.  But she was for sale and we were done with cruising, right?

Cruising with friends is fun… we meet Claude & Annie again in N.C.
Christmas at Great Barrier Island, NZ … Santa found us!

By New Years, we had shown the boat to prospective buyers who wanted to break this and rebuild that, turn her into a Gin Palace, a Bridge Club, a Charter, perhaps even a coastal cruiser or a hotel room downtown Auckland.  But none would use her as she was intended: to cross oceans.  We were tired of showing her and started to have second thoughts.
At Norsand, JP supervises the re-configuration of our anchoring system.
Brought the anchors lower and more forward

What did we really want?  We had no idea yet, still debating whether we should return to the landlubber state (but where?) or build a smaller, trailerable boat (but what? and where?) or even if we should go back to work (God forbid!)  JP left for France and I left for the US.

What we want more of?  Fun with grandchildren on board

Soul searching is hard work.  In our separate ways, in our separate countries, we searched our hearts, consulted with our families, and emails flew constantly between JP’s iPhone and my iPad.  At last, we came up with a plan, written in the sand, of course, but a plan nonetheless.  

This is what we want more of: family on board
Here it is: bring DOMINO closer to the US, possibly to the Sea of Cortez, where we might be able to leave her a few months of the year and travel by land (leaving a motorhome somewhere?) or receive our grandchildren for vacations… re-connecting with our families.  For, in the end, they matter most.
Wherever the boat is, we’ll find a way.
Did we re-kindle The Dream?  Possibly… For now, we are cruising again!  Wonderful, I admit, as we are taking advantage of a splendid Fall season in New Zealand, planning our passage to Vanuatu where we will spend the next 3-4 months.  And then?  Looping the Pacific Loop, via Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, and the 3,500 NM Transpac to Alaska… July 2018!

What next?
Till next time,


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Olverson’s Lodge Creek Marina

“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.” ~Willie Nelson

Just a quick post to update everyone on all the fun we’ve been having since we returned to the boat two weeks ago. We both have been working very hard on projects, putting in 8 to 10 hour days, but Stan has really been the one doing the hard work. I took a little break to return to Pennsylvania to spend Easter with our family while he stayed behind and refinished the salon floor.

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